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Over 300 illegal foreigners arrested for trying to enter SA during lockdown

Source: IOL, 30/05/2020

Motsoaledi revealed this in a written response to a parliamentary
question from IFP MP Liezl van der Merve.
Van der Merve had wanted to know if Motsoaledi had been informed
that persons were passing through the Beitbridge border post on a
daily basis for shopping and other non-essential travel during the
lockdown.
She also asked if the department has found an increase in the
number of undocumented migrants entering the country, a move
directly related to the Beitbridge border fence being compromised.
In his response, Motsoaledi said no person was allowed entry or
departure which did not relate to essential services.
He confirmed the number of arrests by the South African National
Defence Force was increasing. `In April 2020, 22 undocumented
foreigners were arrested and by May 2020, the number of arrests
has increased to 357 undocumented nationals. `The department is
finalising deportation processes in this regard,` Motsoaledi said.
The minister would not be drawn into commenting on the fencing of
the border post which was underway.
Van der Merve had asked whether the department had found the 40
kilometre border fence adequate to help it to enforce the laws
regulating entry into the country.
`The Department of Home Affairs was not involved in the
procurement of the border fence and a response should be requested
from DPWI (Department of Public Works and Infrastructure),`
Motsoaledi said.
The R37m tender for fence the border post raised eyebrows
recently. This after the newly erected fence was damaged, and
large holes had been cut into the multi-layered razor wire fence.
The awarding of the tender is subject of a probe by the Special
Investigating Unit.
The minister also revealed that there were no temporary asylum-
seeker permits that have been automatically renewed since the
national state of disaster was declared. He, however, said there
were 118 842 asylum seekers with a permit expiry date after May
4.
`As at 31 March 2020 there were 80 758 refugees with active
section 24 certificates recorded on the National Immigration
Information System,` Motsoaledi said.
Responding to EFF MP Lorato Tito, the minister said if there were
new applicants who have entered the country as lockdown was
declared, they would receive assistance in the communities where
they reside.
`It should be noted that the republic has not abdicated its
international obligations, especially to those who will declare
their intention to apply for asylum.
`The principle of non-refoulment is fully applicable even under
these circumstances we currently face and therefore Immigration
Officials are expected to assist such persons should they
encounter them during law enforcement operations,` Motsoaledi
said.
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